RUNAWAYS Season 1 Finale Review: Hostile

Ahead of the season one finale of Marvel's RUNAWAYS, we got word that the show had been picked up for a second season by Hulu, which was great news as it would have been so frustrating had the first season been for nothing. Especially since they just ran away. But I'll get to that in a minute. 

Following the penultimate episode, we were treated to a brief fight between the kids and Pride, though it was really just Chase, Molly and Karolina throwing stuff at their folks to keep them at bay. Old Lace looked amazing during this sequence and my excitement peaked when following being shot with a tranquilizer dart early on, fully expecting her to just get knocked out for budget saving reasons, she shook it off and stood tall alongside Gert and the others in the most bad ass shot of the show so far. That's why it was such a shame, following this great moment of subverted expectation, that the kids – and dino – turned and fled whilst Karolina stood her ground against Jonah, her energy powers being the only thing strong enough to match his. This along with the fact that Nico was sans-Staff of One the whole episode after Tina took it back kind of highlighted how the show couldn't go all out with all the kids powers at once. Here's hoping Hulu free up some extra cash for season two so all the kids get to cut loose. 

Karolina's brave stand however, did set up the main set piece of the episode. With her being captured and taken to Church of Gibborim HQ, the kids had to bust in and rescue her right from under Jonah and Pride's noses. This kind of mission, despite the aforementioned lack of powers on show, felt like the Runaways of the comics to me. The kid's personalities all sizzled and popped off one another and I'm not exaggerating when I say I could watch a whole episode of the kids just sitting around in the woods or around a camp fire talking. Perhaps that's a way they could save money in future for a big blow out finale. 

During one of these team regroup scenes in the woods, Gert was forced with letting Old Lace go due to the obvious liability a 5 and a half foot dinosaur might be when trying to lay low when running from your murderous parents. Just as Gert FINALLY named her Old Lace, referencing an old movie flyer that had popped up in the episode, a nod to the fact that in the comics she briefly took the name Arsenic to partner up with prehistoric pet, Gert let her go into the wild. I had hopes she'd be back though, because Old Lace is a good girl and had already shown she'll disobey Gert if it means protecting her. And this is exactly what happened, though not how I wanted. What I wanted was an final confrontation with Pride where Old Lace came storming in and started tearing into the bastards. Alas, they went smaller with Old Lace popping up in a dumpster having not so secretly followed Gert around, and only after they had already saved Karolina. 

The mission to save Karolina went pretty straight forward, with Chase and Molly getting themselves picked up by the Church of Gibborim mini bus as potential recruits, whilst the other were outside waiting for the get away. It was here a lot of the potential teen B.S. was cut right through once again by the brilliant chemistry of the young actors at the heart of this show. Nico acted as the perfect go between Gert and Chase, resolving the trope of “why don't these two just talk to each other/admit they have feelings for one another”. She even went so far as to state that it would be nice to see a healthy relationship come out of all of this. Yes Nico, it really would. 

Nico herself even got a little happy ending as once they got Karolina back – and Karolina had changed into one of her semi iconic comic book outfits (see the cover of Runaways issue No. 10) they shared another kiss. This time though it wasn't framed with peril or angst or done simply because they thought they all might die, but because they could finally be together, even if neither girl or indeed the writers know exactly where they go from here. But I will say this, seeing the kids asleep in the back of the stolen mini van, Chase and Gert holding hands and Nico and Karolina spooning, warmed my heart. I'm rooting for these kids. 

Alex however, had another idea. Meeting with Darius from his dad's old crew, he seemed to make some kind of deal for fat stack of bills. Exactly what kind of deal he made we're yet to see, but it does solve the short term problem of how these kids are going to survive now that they've finally run away. Because runaway away they did. But not before Pride put in a call to the police framing their kids for murder of Destiny, the girl they botched the sacrifice over back in episode one. They even set up the older kids for the kidnapping of Molly, just like in the comics. The episode and indeed the season ended exactly as I thought it would, because sometimes the cheesy stuff just works. When faced with their own wanted faces on TV the others turned to de-facto leader Alex for a plan. “What do we do?” they asked. “ We run.” And run they did. And with that final shot, my Runaways from the comics where born. 

There are still a lot of mysteries to uncover, namely exactly what is under L.A. that Jonah wanted to get his hand on. And there are still a few kinks in the show, with the aforementioned budget restrictions forcing the writers to come up with ways to curtail the Runaways' powers at least for now. But I have faith that season two will build on this 10 episode origin story and when they return it'll be better than ever. 

And I'll leave you with this, a final mystery that I felt the show undersold. In the comics, when the kids ran away, one of them left an unsigned note saying they were still loyal to their parents, that they understood why they did what they did and that they would make their way back to them. The Runaways had a mole in the group who would ultimately be revealed in the first volume's biggest twist. The show runners have said they aren't going to replicate that twist but it looks like they are going to do that angle. For after the Runaways successfully rescued Karolina, Jonah received a text from an unknown number – “Mission Accomplished. Let me know what's next.” With the show runner's promise that we won't see what's coming, it looks as if any one of the kids could a mole for Jonah. So until Marvel's RUNAWAYS returns, presumably end of 2018, ask yourself this – Who sent the text?

Written by Nick Whitney, RUNAWAYS Beat Writer

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